7 USC survives tough road challenge from Oregon as Caleb Williams leads late rally


USC quarterback Caleb Williams dips for a pass against Oregon State on Saturday, September 24, 2022, in Corvallis, Oregon (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

USC quarterback Caleb Williams dips for a pass against Oregon State on Saturday, September 24, 2022, in Corvallis, Oregon (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

It wasn’t a remarkable night for the USC offense, which split opponents in the first three weeks of the season.

But Troy quarterback Caleb Williams put on a daring last-minute campaign to get past the much-improved Oregon State team 17-14 at Corvallis.

After trailing by four points in front of a hostile crowd at Reser Stadium, Williams reached out to transfer receiver Jordan Addison for 21 yards, with 1:19 remaining for the decisive score.

She capped with 11 games, 84 yards that included a fourth down conversion as Williams needed a push from his teammates to barely cross the line for gains.

Max Williams picked Beavers QB Chance Nolan in the next drive to close out. This was Nolan’s fourth interception of the night.

This makes USC an incredible +14 in turnover margin this season, a big reason they are 4-0 (2-0 in Pac-12) and a solid start to Lincoln Riley’s first year as head coach.

For Oregon, now 3-1 and 0-1 in the Pac-12 game, it’s a huge missed opportunity to beat a top-10 team and prove how far the program has progressed under coach Jonathan Smith.

OSU led most of the game despite its offensive struggles. Deshaun Fenwick started scoring with a 4-yard sprint early in the second quarter to make it 7-0 Beavers.

The Trojans, who scored 152 points in their first three games, only mustered a field goal in the first three quarters, trailing 7-3 at that point. Oregon defensive lineups were glued to all of the USC receivers and they made life difficult for Williams throughout.

Williams finished 16 for 36 for 180 yards and one touchdown. It was his worst game of the season so far.

But OSU cannot take advantage of it. Offensive drives are routinely disrupted by either interceptions or penalties. The missed field goal in the early fourth quarter also proved very costly to the Beavers.

It wasn’t until early in the fourth quarter when USC got its first lead, 10-7, in the 7-yard TD from Travis Dye.

Oregon reclaimed the lead next in Jam Griffin’s 18-yard score with 4:41 to play to become 14-10. Naturally, this result was determined by the defense, who pinned USC to his 2-yard line, resulting in a short kick that led to the Beavers attack at USC 22.

The lead did not last long as Williams and co put their best foot forward into the night when they needed it most. After three dominant wins for USC, this was the first real test for a team led by a new coach and several transfer players. The first test has been passed.



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